OPINION   
Editor's Note
Lies and half truths
It is not easy being at the center of a raging controversy. More so if it involves charges of serious dereliction of duty, or worse, corruption.

Thus, it was with extreme caution that we reacted when we first received an anonymous letter accusing former Labor Attache Manuel Roldan of a series of acts that at best amounted to serious misconduct. Details...

Migrant's Forum
Bad court decisions make for unjust law
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy at Lingnan University



There are times in history when legislatures come together and somehow manage to enact good laws. These are the kinds of laws that tend to make society a better place for all. These are the kinds of laws that create conditions of greater safety, fairness of equality for all persons in society. Details...

BUHAY PINAY   
Pahamak

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NEWS FROM HOME   
Senate probe on Binay widens
The Senate investigation into alleged overpricing of an annex of Makati's City Hall has expanded to include more allegations of graft against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
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COMMUNITY   
Triple celebration on Chater
Three affiliate organizations staged a whole-day festivity on Chater Road on Sept. 14, complete with a show and various outreach services for overseas domestic workers.
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SPORTS   
FBC bowlers rule Square & Compass charity tournament
A record 22 teams of mostly Hong Kong-based Filipinos joined the visiting bowling legend Paeng Nepomuceno in competing for honors in the Square & Compass Club Hong Kong (SCCHK) Charity Bowling Tournament in Homantin, Kowloon, on Sept. 20.
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PINOY JOKES   
Modernization

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Chinese Horoscope   
Ano ang hatid ng Oktubre sa iyo

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Your Daily News   
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  Phil. Daily Inquirer
  Manila Times

  May 2013 Hong Kong News   
Filipina appeals removal order to be with resident kid
A Filipina fighting to remain in Hong Kong to be with her underage daughter who holds permanent resident status here has elevated her battle to the Court of Appeal.

Milagros Tecson Comilang, a former domestic helper, has appealed a decision of the Court of First Instance rejecting her challenge to the Director of Immigration's repeated refusal to extend her permission to stay in the territory.

The Court of Appeal has reserved its judgment after hearing arguments on Apr. 16.

The lower court ruling, which was handed down in June last year, also denied Comilang's petition for a judicial review of the Commissioner of Registration's rejection of her application for a Hong Kong permanent identity card.

The outcome of the case could have serious implications for all Filipino children who have been granted right of abode, but whose parents do not share this status. Such is the case of about two dozen children of Filipino domestic workers who were granted permanent residency about three to four years ago.

At the appeal hearing, Comilang's counsel, Gladys Li, SC, described the legal proceeding before Justices Peter Cheung, Frank Stock and Joseph Paul Fok as a special case involving a child who is underage, a minority and who requires the constant presence of a parent.

Comilang first came to the city in 1997. Shortly after her last contract was terminated on July 13, 2005, she underwent an Islamic marriage with a certain Shaker Ahmed, a Hong Kong permanent resident. She subsequently applied for a change of her immigration status to remain in the city as a dependant of her husband.

Pending the processing of her application, the Director of Immigration did not extend Comilang's permission to stay, which expired on Oct. 10, 2005.

Then, in February 2006, the already overstaying Comilang gave birth to Zahrah Ahmed, who acquired permanent resident status through her father and by virtue of her being born in Hong Kong.

Ahmed, the husband, was subsequently discovered to be in a subsisting marriage at the time he married Comilang. He later withdrew his sponsorship of the Filipina's change of status application.

Since then, Comilang has resisted several orders for her leave so she could stay with her daughter, whom she wants to remain in the territory to enjoy her rights as a permanent resident. The child is a co-applicant in the case.

While recognizing the state's right to control who stays in Hong Kong, Li argued that the immigration department should allow a custodial parent the right to stay in the interest of the child.

The Court, warned Li, should consider the impact of their decision because, in compelling Comilang to leave, the child essentially loses her right of abode.

Li also questioned the fairness of allowing unmarried children below 18 years of age to be dependants of parents, and yet denying the same right to a resident child and her parent.

On the other hand, Anderson Shek, counsel for the Director of Immigration, wanted the Court to clarify what a child's right of abode entailed.

"To what extent can (the child's right of abode) be relied upon (by) the mother (who has) no right of abode?" asked Shek.

Foreign nationals are allowed to sponsor their relatives as dependants. In exceptional cases, the Director of Immigration also has the discretion to allow other foreign nationals to stay in Hong Kong on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

However, in the appealed 50-page judgment, Presiding Justice Johnson Lam had stated that the courts will not lightly interfere with the Director's exercise of discretion and that "humanitarian considerations are not reviewable in courts" (Lau Kong Yung vs Director Immigration [1999]).

Judge Lam also ruled that it was not necessary for the court to come to any conclusion on the impact of the refusal of Tecson's extension of stay on the future of Zahrah Ahmed.

He further rejected the argument that Comilang needed to leave Hong Kong with her daughter, simply because she had custody of the child.

"The Family Court has jurisdiction to reconsider the question of custody when (Comilang) has to leave Hong Kong. One option is to grant custody to the father. Another option is to grant leave to relocation. It is entirely a matter for the Family Court to decide in view of the prevailing circumstances and the best interest of the child," said Justice Lam.



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